Blessings From Ertha: How One Cat Opened My Heart, Edge Magazine, July 2015
Feature article in Whole Life magazine: Surfer Mind
Surfer Mind: Being Present With Our Animals, Edge Magazine, November 2013
Lost And Found; What To Do When Dogs Go Missing: Think Outside The Box, Pawsitively Pets Magazine, June 10, 2013
SpeciesLink 86 Spring 2012-4-22.pdf p. 22. The Holographic
Universe; How Animal Communication Works, Species Link Magazine, 2012
Species Link Magazine, Spring, 2012, p.22
When Animals Pee & Poop in the House
I’ve had good results resolving ‘inappropriate’ elimination, most of my clients being feline and a few of them dogs.
Regarding cats, I’ve found that peeing directly outside the box can indicate a dislike for their litter, the position or location of the box or a dirty box. The cause for urinating on the bed or furniture can be a response to this as well, but most likely is an unresolved emotional issue. (I first rule out bladder infection by doing a body scan and also suggest a urinalysis at the Vet if the session is not successful.) Spraying is usually a more adamant and immediate demand to be heard, like us yelling. Especially when they spray or urinate in front of us. This by no means is golden rule, just a generalization based on the cases that I’ve had. And of course, situations can be much more complex.
Lucia, a two year old cat, had been soiling the couch for her entire two years. I assumed it most likely had to do with the person’s boyfriend or a dysfunctional relationship with her person. However Lucia immediately sent me a picture of her litter, the clumping kind, and said it was making her nauseous.
I couldn’t believe it could be this simple, but sure enough, her person had never used anything else, switched to another type, and the problem was resolved.
Cats will spray when they are overwhelmed or stressed; due to humans they may not like or too many cats or chaos in the household. Perhaps it is like us humans venting, not necessarily in anger, but in attempt to get it off our chests.
Spraying was comforting and grounding for my own cat Bubby, trapped in an unbearable living situation. I’m embarrassed to say...living with me and my partner, both of us yelling and slamming doors. Bubby sprayed for nearly 10 years! Back then, I had no idea what that sticky stuff was that I found on the computer, stereo, my artwork and photography. All the things that were dear to us. It wasn’t until Michael & I split up that Bubby stopped spraying. My girl cat Ertha would pee on Michael’s bed. Never mine. Hmmm.
So yes, it is sometimes the people that need to change. So if the problem isn’t cleared up after I’ve gotten a clear answer from the animal, and after the people have made all the changes they can, chances are something else is going on with the people that they are unaware of. It may be what they are saying, not what they are doing.
Bernie, a beagle mix, was peeing deliberately on the rug and just ‘missing’ the pad provided for him. All I kept hearing from the dog was, “I don’t want to go back.” It turned out that the person had been grieving his other dog who passed away. The new dog, Bernie, picked up on his person’s grief, was confused by it and began soiling. As it turned out, his loving person, frustrated with Bernie for peeing, would tell his dog he was going to take him back. Although he was not serious, it compounded the dog’s fear and insecurity, and he continued soiling. Bernie had come from a rescue, and while there had been placed in potential homes several times, only to be returned to the rescue again and again. After I convinced Bernie that he had a home forever with his person, (and explained why his person was so sad) he stopped urinating in the house.
Often clients will call and tell me that if I can’t stop their animal from soiling they are going to get rid of them. They are serious. These are extremely difficult cases since the animal now fears losing his home on top of everything else. How you react to your animal soiling can help or harm the problem. Remember that animals hear your thoughts (and words) and respond to your intentions. Soiling is communication, not spite.
Sometimes we may be spot on, but due to unknown circumstances, the problem continues. As with Monster, a bull dog rescue who pooped in the bedroom- a room his people spent most of their time in. This was a red flag. Monster told me that he was worried about his people leaving him, that he didn’t want to be alone. The people had no clue to what this could possibly mean. They had no intentions of ever giving Monster away.
One cat didn’t like the cover on his box. Sharing the house with seven other cats, he had six boxes to choose from - all were covered. One cat didn’t like his box ‘hiding’. His person had kept it half under a chair.
Scarlet was pooping outside the litter box and peeing in the sink. She told me she wasn't happy. When I asked her what would make her happy, she showed me an outside area that she no longer had access to, and missed. Her person, Abby said that she had always taken Scarlet to an outside courtyard, until they moved. Abby agreed to take her out at the new home. Scarlet started using the box.
“He is loved dearly and never left alone”.
I had three sessions with Monster. Each time I heard the same thing. Each time I reassured Monster that no one was leaving him. He still continued to poop in the bedroom. I gave up. The people would be going on vacation soon and the problem remained unresolved. I then reminded the people to tell Monster when they would return. I did the same. Monster stopped pooping in the bedroom! It then dawned on me. Monster began soiling around the time his people had started planning their vacation and were indeed talking about ‘leaving’. A minor detail overlooked, and the crux of the problem.
When I doubt myself or what I’ve heard from the animal and think that I may have missed the mark (usually I have not), I take a look at the animal's chakras. If I see the heart chakra is out of balance, for example, and the people swear to me that they “work at home, have a great relationship with their animal, and s/he is not lonely”, I will clear and balance that chakra for the animal. Sometimes this will be enough to restore inner harmony and resolve the problem. If not, it will at least help to validate my findings. I can then proceed to ask the animal the right questions. Why are you lonely?, how do you feel when your people are not paying attention to you?, what can they do to make it better?, etc.
Another thing that helped a dog with an anxiety separation / pee problem was EFT. (Emotional Freedom Technique) I couldn’t get through to this dog any other way. Although he expressed his feelings to me clearly, and I worked with him extensively, when his person left he was out of control. I simply told the person to call the next time she left her dog alone, and immediately started EFT from my home. It works.
Voice of Experience;
Cats Out of the Box
Species Link Magazine
Spring Issue 74, 2009
Yudi, My Yoga Boy
Yudi was dying. It’s life, I told myself. We’re eternal beings, my teacher said, on a human path. Or on an animal path, like Yudi. I didn’t want him to leave just yet. My yoga boy, purring under my solar plexus in cobra pose. How do I let him go? The greatest Zen teacher I ever had, and my first cat.
I was doing dishes when Michael brought him home in the palm of his hand. Sixteen years ago. Sir Yudi ‘Boo’ Longfellow we named him. Boo Boo or Yudi for short. At first we called him ‘Hey You!’ as he raced through the house as we trailed after him like fools. He looked like a rat drinking from bowls bigger than his dark slinky body, ordained with a toothpick tail, ears that towered above his head and a grin sliced across his inky black face. The cat driven, tearing the house up to get me out of bed every morning. He made us laugh and lived for food. Killing for cantaloupe or garbanzo beans, batting his brothers to be the first.
Today my big boy was disoriented, bony and blind and could barely walk. No one knew what was up or what to do to help him. Could be a brain tumor or some perplexing virus attacking the nerves, they said. He was deteriorating slowly. Vet #6 suggested I euthanize Yudi immediately. I couldn’t find the courage to put him down. He still wakes me up in the morning, purrs when I rub him and with help, eats like a horse. What if his soul’s work isn’t finished was yet? I didn’t want to interfere with his path.
Who was I to end his life? I had taken Buddhist vows in 1996. No killing or creating suffering for others. I asked Yudi to tell me what he wanted. I was ready to honor and respect his wishes and requests, put my own opinions and beliefs about euthanasia aside, and listen to my animals with my heart and not my mind.
Yudi was the one who gave me the abilities (animal communication) I have now. Through the years he sat on the yellow tiled kitchen counter top receiving and sending thoughts with me. Today people pay me to speak to their animals telepathically, but it’s difficult at times to hear my own animal family. I get stuck in my stuff. Yudi knew this and usually got through to me in my dreams.
Two Sundays ago Michael stopped by with Yudi’s favorite treats, baked chicken and Sun Chorella. After he left I fell fast asleep with all five cats on my twin futon, and had a remarkable dream.
On a porch lay a large boned dog with a long, sad face. He was lonely, isolated from his family and apart from his long time friend. Suddenly a small black dog found his way back to the porch, nuzzled up to his big old friend and laid his small black paws on his arm. Everything was all right! The big dog’s eyes lit up as though he had found a treasure he thought he had lost. He lifted his heavy face into a wide cheshire grin, exposing a row of flat human teeth.
At that point I woke up, my eyes unfocused in the hazy moonlit room. Laying there on the bed, much to my surprise was Yudi, with his head propped up inches from mine, staring at me. His coal black paws rested on my arm. He was purring loudly, something I had not heard since his turn for the worst. I thought perhaps it was Bubby laying there, my gentle boy cat who is also black. When you’re nearsighted, everyone looks the same in the dark. I pushed my nose into his fur. Smelled like Yudi, sweet as cotton candy. I rubbed the tip of his ears. They were clipped (torn from early fights). They were Yudi ears!
What was he consoling me about in my dream? Did he think that I was missing Michael whom I had recently separated from after 22 years? Or was he telling me it was all right to let him go? That even when we’re apart he would still be here to hold my hand? He seemed to receive great comfort in comforting me.
I had always seen myself as his caretaker, although Yudi was always more loving and patient than I. Animals come into our lives as teachers and healers. Perhaps I had been the student and he my spiritual guide? Although here we were two dogs in a dream. As equal as can be. Except for our huge difference in size, there was no difference at all. I was his big old friend.
In two months Yudi’s condition worsened. I took him to a healer and psychic, who told me Yudi is a very wise soul, that he has been with me for a long time and has always been my guide. Who was he? She closed her eyes, but no images came to mind. “Yudi does not want to be put down,” she said. “He has some things to process.”
"Tell him I am ready to let him go."' I told her. Yudi answered. “Her heart isn’t.”
A few days later I sat under the lemon tree holding Yudi in my arms. His body was cool and brittle as a willow branch. He was barely hanging on. I asked him. "Who were you in my past life?" I closed my eyes. He showed me a vivid image. A dark skinned, black haired Indian man. He is dressed in white and has his arm around me. He is a wise teacher of some kind. One who cares deeply about my soul’s journey. "Why did you come back as a cat?" I asked Yudi.
He replied, “to open your heart.”
I took him back to the healer who told me Yudi would pass in a few short days. She blessed him, did some transitional work and closed her eyes. “He was a man,” she whispered after moments of silence...“an Indian man.”
I nearly fell off the chair.
Yudi stopped eating the following Tuesday evening and could not walk. The next day he could not close his eyes. His body trembled. It was time. My first time. I had no doubts in my mind.
His passing was gentle. The doctor placed a yellow rose under his chin as tears fell from my eyes. I was happy Yudi was released from his suffering. I was sad to see him go.
I remember how relaxed and relieved I was the night I opened my sleepy eyes to Yudi’s small face shrouded in the mysteries of the night. No matter what path I take or whose porch I sleep on I knew that Yudi would always find me. We never really die.
Thank you Boo Boo for opening my heart... and for that wonderful dream!
Animal Wellness Magazine
“Killing living beings?” I reminded my Zen teacher, who by law had to exterminate termites in order to sell his house. “We live in an imperfect world,” he said, “and we do what we have to do.”
Each one of us has her own path to follow, our lessons and karma. And, as Carolyn Myss refers to, our “scared contracts,” agreements made with others before we take birth. Most importantly, every individual lives their own truth. We can’t judge what others do. We don’t know what is right for them, or what contracts they have made, and for what purpose they have made them.
My colleagues tell me that animals have given consent to be consumed, and that by consuming them there is an energy exchange. True, every being that is alive depends on another being for survival. Yet who among us wants to die? We all fight for life. We all want the same thing-to be free of suffering.
Not eating animals who are unnecessarily tortured and brutally slaughtered against their will does not free us from a karma -free diet. If we want to get picky, slaughtered animals are in everything we consume and use. Rendered in the food we feed our companions, in homeopathy and Chinese herbs, medications and chemicals tested on innocent laboratory animals. Even refined sugar is processed using animal bones. The list goes on. We all have blood on us. It’s impossible not to.
Like everyone else, I live my truth, and have chosen to live a vegan lifestyle. Becoming vegan was for me a gradual process of awakening, and practice of ahimsa, or nonviolence.
Then I started my Zen practice in 1994, and took Buddhist vows; no
killing or creating suffering for others. I then stopped fish, dairy, cheese and eggs. I loved cheese and fish, and when I was tempted I would watch PETA’s Meet Your Meat to strengthen my commitment. (Also, a more comprehensive documentary to view on You-Tube is entitled Earthlings.) I stopped wearing leather, wool, silk and no longer use honey. I buy only ‘cruelty free’ cosmetics and household cleaners, eat only dark chocolate and burn soy candles. I try to do ‘all the right things’, grateful for the opportunity to do so. Not everyone can make spirulina smoothies in their vita mix. Nor do they want to! Choice can be a luxury.
Some friends point out that my faux leather (plastic) shoes are not good for the environment. All our choices have consequences. I purchase, when possible, American made, man made materials and buy only what I absolutely need. I’m not perfect, and nothing is black and white in a picture quite complicated.
What I don’t understand is the hierarchy on the food chain. A wild life sanctuary rescues tigers, lions and chimps and serves the ‘lower animals’ for dinner at a fundraiser. We don’t buy fur, but we wear leather. We are horrified that cats and dogs are raised for food and skinned alive for fur in some parts of China and Korea, yet we do the same here to intelligent chickens, pigs and cows. Why don’t we slaughter horses and dolphins for their flesh? Eagles instead of duck? Eat our pets? Who decides whose life is more important? All beings deserve a decent life - not just some, and not just us.
I don’t force my way of life on others, nor deprive my cats of a diet that they are designed to eat. They are true carnivores, with razor teeth for ripping, strong stomach acid for digesting meat and short digestive tracks for eliminating it. I feed them raw meat, shipped from New Zealand where animals at least roam free. We all have blood on our hands, me included, dripping on my soy candles and dark chocolate. We do what we have to do. As my Zen teacher put it, “Everyone draws their line.” Slicing his finger through the air, he added, “I draw mine here...where do you draw yours?”
Voice of Experience
Vegetarian or Omnivore
Summer, issue75, 2009
All Beings deserve a decent life. Not just some. And not just us.
It was not easy to stop eating meat in a world that socially accepts it. I became “vegetarian” in 1978. The word in quotation marks, for during the early years I still ate fish. At the time, not eating meat had nothing to do with health or animals. It had to do with being anorexic in a ballet company and having little money for groceries. I lived on granola, yogurt, peanut butter, lettuce, beer, drugs and cigarettes. After three years I could no longer get red meat down. I tried and tried for one whole year. It tasted like the smell of an animal’s wet fur, if you can imagine that. I stopped chicken in 1989 for the same reason.
Listening to Animals
Tolucan Times; Oct. Issue, 2010
The first time I heard animals was on a Sunday afternoon. I was walking through my house, focused on finding a pencil, when a voice resounded in my mind. “Look out!! I’m down here!”
I looked down. My cat Bubby was stretched gracefully at my toes glaring at me with no intentions of moving. I didn’t believe my ears.
I realized that telepathic communication is not only possible, but that animals are communicating to us all the time, and when we do not hear them they get through to us in other ways. Their desperate attempts (peeing, spraying, biting) are seen as ‘behavioral problems’.
Animals are our teachers, reminding us to pay attention to our thoughts, words and actions. Our negativity, anger, fear and stress effects their behavior and health as well as our own. Animals show us how to slow down and be more mindful. They teach us to forgive, how to live in the state of joy and how to
love unconditionally, without attachment or judgment.
Compassion arises when we love and accept ourselves as much as our animals love and accept us. We begin to cherish all beings as much as we cherish ourselves. Our lives are not separate, but woven together in a web of karma. All beings, from the tiniest insects, want to be happy and free from suffering. Animal communication is the groundwork that makes communication with all life possible.
Diana is a Zen practitioner, spiritual healer, Kundalini yoga instructor and internationally known animal communicator. She is available for consultations and workshops.